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5 Fundamental Gym Exercises That Every Afro-Latina Should Do


Esta frio afuera, but believe it or not, summer is just a few months way. Ok, summer is more like 5 months away, but that’s not too far away correcto? Five months is more than enough time to get your body nice and sculpted para la playa.

Whether you’re an Afro-Latina who is new to the gym, or you go to the gym on a regular basis, we would like to share 5 basic gym exercises that every Afro-Latina should do. These exercises can be used as a starting point for establishing a regular gym routine or can be incorporated into an existing routine.

Pre-Exercise Notes

Be sure to talk to your doctor before trying these exercises, especially if you have a history of back, neck, or leg pain.

Each exercise should be done 2-3 times per week with repeated reps.

Exercise 1

Side Plank – Good for building core strength and endurance.

Gym workouts often need warm-up activities and side planks are the perfect solution. A gym or a yoga mat is needed to complete this exercise.

Step 1:

Lie on your left side with your right leg stacked on top of your left leg.

Step 2:

Bend your left elbow so it rests on the mat under your shoulder.

Step 3:

With your abdominals slightly contracted, lift your left hip up off of the floor. Be sure to maintain a straight line between your shoulders, hips and feet. Keep your hips square and your neck in line with your spine. Lower your hips back to the floor.

If this exercise is too challenging, start with bent knees. Beginners should hold for 10-15 seconds, and then lower their hips back to the floor. Those with an existing gym routine should hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then lower their hips back to the floor.

Complete 5 planks on each side before moving on to another exercise.

Exercise 2

Kettlebell Squat – Good for sculpting the thighs and buttocks.

Kettlebells can be found in almost any gym and provide an easy way to workout.

Step 1:

Hold a kettlebell in front of your chest with each hand on opposite sides of the handle. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed straight forward. Stand tall and keep your chest lifted.

Step 2:

Slowly descend down into a squat position, making sure to sit backwards as you squat rather than leaning forward and arching your back. The crease of your hips should drop below your knees. Your thighs should be parallel with the floor.

Step 3:

Slowly return to a standing position. Remember to keep your back straight.

Beginners should complete 3 sets of 10, and those with an existing routine should complete 5 sets of 15 before moving on to another exercise.

Exercise 3

Bent Knee Sit-ups – Good for sculpting the abdominal muscles.

In addition to burning calories, doing sit-ups offer numerous health benefits. This exercise improves posture, reduces the risk of back injury, and increases the strength and flexibility of your core.

Step 1:

Using a gym or yoga mat, lie on your back with your knees bent up and feet flat on the mat. Your heels should be a comfortable distance (about 12-18 inches) away from your buttocks.

Step 2:

Place your hands behind your head, and align your head with your spine. Pull your shoulder blades and your elbows back, as you slowly lift your head and shoulders off the mat while exhaling. Keep your neck relaxed and continue going up until your upper back has lifted off the mat. Your lower back, buttocks, and feet should remain on the mat at all times. Hold for 5 seconds.

Step 3:

Slowly, and with control, lower back to the mat as you inhale. Make sure your lower back, buttocks, and feet remain on the mat.

It is important to maintain proper form when doing sit-ups to prevent excessive strain on the lower back. Beginners should complete 3 sets of 10, and those with an existing routine should complete 5 sets of 15 before moving on to another exercise.

Exercise 4

Glute Bridge / Butt Lift – Good for sculpting your buttocks.

This is an easy gym workout that only requires a gym or yoga mat.

Step 1:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart on the mat.

Step 2:

Pushing mainly with your heels, gently lift your hips off the ground until you form a straight line between your hips, chest and knees. Breathe out as you go up, and be sure to keep your back straight. Hold for one second.

Step 3:

Lower yourself back to the mat as you breathe in.

Beginners should complete 3 sets of 10, and those with an existing routine should complete 5 sets of 15 before moving on to another exercise.

Exercise 5

Dumbbell Bicep Curl – Good for sculpting your arms.

The dumbbell bicep curl exercise utilizes basic dumbbells found in almost any gym. It targets the inner, outer and lower biceps muscles. Beginners should use 2-pound dumbbells, and those with an existing gym routine should use dumbbells that are 5-10 pounds.

Step 1:

Stand straight up with a dumbbell in each hand. Your hands should be down the side of your body, with your palms facing outward.

Step 2:

Slowly bend both elbows, raising each dumbbell towards your chest until they reach shoulder’s height. Hold for one second.

Step 3:

Slowly lower both dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Be sure to breathe throughout the exercise, and try not to jerk your body as you lift the dumbbells. Keep your elbows close to your side throughout the exercise.

Beginners should complete 3 sets of 5, and those with an existing routine should complete 5 sets of 15 before moving on to another exercise.

By performing these staple gym exercises regularly, in just a few weeks, you will be beach body ready. Just be sure to incorporate at least 30 seconds of rest in between each exercise.

Photo credits: © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Corbis, © JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis, © Monkey Business Images/Corbis,

© 13/John Giustina/Ocean/Corbis

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